The financial woes of some of the NHL’s teams are well known. Phoenix, Dallas, Columbus, even the Islanders can get thrown into that mix on occasion. The problems of the New Jersey Devils, however, aren’t played up quite as much… Until now.
Forbes’ Mike Ozanian reports that the Devils are headed towards bankruptcy themselves and that owner Jeff Vanderbeek is compounding the team’s issues by treating the team the same way Tom Hicks did with the Dallas Stars. The issue at hand for the Devils? Vanderbeek isn’t making interest payments on the team. Quotes from the Globe And Mail on Vanderbeek’s inability to pay follow.
Devils co-owner Jeff Vanderbeek already missed an interest payment on the $80-million (all currency U.S.) loan Sept. 1. He was given an extension by the lenders in order to try and raise enough money to buy out co-owners Ray Chambers and Mike Gilfillan.
However, Vanderbeek’s efforts have not paid off yet so he still has not been able to make the interest payment. The Devils are not an attractive property to buyers because of their attendance troubles at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. They are 25th among the NHL’s 30 teams in attendance with an average announced crowd of 14,074.
As you might imagine, this is horrible news. Ozanian concludes his report on the Devils saying that the NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman have to do their part to get Vanderbeek out as the owner before the debt issue makes the possibility of selling the team virtually impossible.
Just when you thought things were turning the corner for the league, they’ve got another financial disaster to juggle and this one is in the heart of league’s biggest market.